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tv   ABC World News With Diane Sawyer  ABC  March 25, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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to tonight on "world news," what did he know? growing anger aimed at pope benedict. tonight, the sex abuse scandal widened to 200 deaf boys in wisconsin. midterm momentum. who has it? after the new health care law, republicans anger ed as the president returns to where it all began. your money. tonigh inside empty buildings you had no idea you owned, costing hundreds of millions. tanning ban. late night tonight, a warning about teens and tanning. and american heart. the cinderella team, and the young prince who has charmed them. here's a hint.
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remember this shot? and good evening. we begin tonight with new and major questions about what the pope knew and when he knew it. as the sex abuse scandal within the church widens. pope benedict was once the cardinal, heading the vatican office that handled abuse cases, and we now learned it is during that time his office was alerted to cases with 200 boys in wisconsin, trying to communicate their fear. and dan harris is here to start us off tonight. >> reporter: the victims of the alleged predator priest are furious with the pope who they say had a chance to kick father murphy out of the priesthood, but simply refused. father lawrence murphy preyed upon the most vulnerable children. children without voices. and today, one of them, arthur, speaking through his daughter, said this about pope benedict. >> he should be removed as the
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pope, you know? for protecting child molesters. that's not a man that choub leading the church. >> reporter: father murphy allegedly abused upwards of 200 boys while working at the st. john's school for the deaf in the 1950s. arthur says he was abused during confession and in his bed at night. >> they were all sleep in one huge dorm room and he would see father murphy walking throughout thbeds and molesting children. >> reporter: father murphy was removed from the school in 1974, but it wasn't until 1996hat the archbishop of milwaukee, facing a potential lawsuit, alerted the vatican, sending a letter to the man who ran the office that oversaw abuse cases, cardinal joseph ratzinger, now pope benedict. at first, aides to the future pope allowed officials in milwaukee to hold a secret church trial. but afternoon father murphy sent this personal appeal, telling the future pope he was in poor health and had repented of any of his transgressions, the trial
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was shut down. the former archbishop of milwaukee disagreed with the move as he recounted in this deposition. >> which i pleaded that even though he was retired, and in ill health, that he be reduced to the lay state. to bring some kind of closure to this in our deaf community. and instead, it dragged and he died about six months later. >> reporter: father murphy died still a priest in good standing. today, the vatican defended the actions of the future pope in light of the fact that father murphy was elderly and in very poor health, and no allegations of abuse had been reported in over 20 years. jeff anderson, the attorney representing the victims, doesn't buy it. >> the pope is involved in an international worldwide conspiracy to avoid scandal to protect themselves, their reputation at the peril of the children. >> reporter: and in fact, if you
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look at the letters from the future pope's office to church officials back in wisconsin, you see a real emphasis on terms like strict secrecy and avoiding scandal. and in the end, david, they achieved neither. >> and a priest until the end. >> reporter: indeed. >> we're going to go to the vatican next, where the allegations come on top of a widening scandal for the church. the pope oversaw these abuse cases from every corner of the world for more than a decade. and in a number of countries there is growing anger tonight he didn't do enough. jim sciutto is at the vatican tonight. >> reporter: inside the vatican tonight, smiles at pope benedict met young people in preparation for world youth day. outside, anger, as protesters layed out photos of children abused by priests the abuse scandal is rippling from australia, where more than 100 complaints of abuse forced an apology by the pope. to mexico, where the pope dismissed the head of a priestly
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order. and now, to several countries across europe. in ireland, the scandal now involves thousands of allegations. yesterday, the pope accepted the resignation of a bishop who failed to report abuse to police. der mitt ryan came forward just this year, 72 years after he was abused at a catholic school in dubl dublin. >> we're all against the cover-up. i spent my life covering up. i don't want anymore to be in the cover-up business. i want to be me. >> reporter: and in germany this week, revelations that church officials failed to punish a priest even after a conviction of sexually abusing boys. he once worked under then archbishop joseph ratzinger, who would become the pope. >> if, as pope, he cannot clean house, i think his credibility is damaged. >> reporter: the trouble for benedict is that he spent 14 years as head of the vatican office directly responsible for handling crimes. abc's brian ross confronted him
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in 2002. >> come to me -- >> excuse me. >> reporter: as pope, benedict has met with victims and made public apologies. critics say the church continues to treat abuse as a matter of conscience, rather than a crime. >> he needs to remove the cardinals and bishops who were deeply involved in these cover-ups, and then he needs to create a genuine criminal justice system in the vatican. >> reporter: there are liberal-minded catholics calling for more radical change, including elevating women to leadership positions. not on the table is the pope's resignation. that hasn't happened in more than 500 years. >> jim sciutto, thank you. back to this country now, and to health care. and the senate today passed the so-called fixing to the health care bill. 43 amendments offered by republicans were all defeated. there were some minor changes made to the bill and the house is expected ed to quickly appr them. there are new reports
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tonight of threats against members of congress. house minority whip eric contor says a window in his office was hit by a bullet. but he initially kept it quiet and today he blasted democratic leaders for not doing the same. >> good afternoon. security threats against members of congress is not a partisan issue, and they should never be treated that way. to use such threats as political weapons is reprehensible. >> the president, meanwhile, it seemed, was still selling health care reform today, even after the victory. he returned to iowa, where he first sold the reform plan. but this trip is likely about more. using any momentum from the victory to buoy democrats who may need help come november. here's jake tapper. >> reporter: the eye wans gathered were a supportive crowd. more than willing to laugh with the president about republican predictions that health care reform would lead to armageddon. >> so, after i signed the bill i looked around to see if there were any as troild teroids fall. some cracks opening up in th
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earth. turned out it was a nice day. >> reporter: and perhaps with a nod to the november elections, the president attempted to reassure the crowd this was not a government takeover of their health care. >> three months from now, six months from now, you're going to look around, you're going to be sitting in a doctor's office, reading through the old people magazi magazines. you'll say, hey, this is same doctor. same plan. it wasn't armageddon. >> reporter: iowa city was the perfect place for the president to confront the reality of the bill compared to what he promised right here three years ago as a candidate. >> as president, i will sign a universal health care plan. >> reporter: become then he promised a less expensive bill with a public option and universal coverage. which this bill does not provide. promised by the end of my first term in office, i would sign legislation to reform our health insurance system. and today, health insurance
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reform is the law of the land. all across america. >> yes we can! yes we can. >> yes we did. yes we did. >> reporter: and david, you can count on seeing president obama outside of washington, d.c. in the coming weeks and months, selling the health care reform plan, trying to make sure that even the most skeptical americans come to believe, as he does that it was the right thing for the country. david? >> jake tapper at the white house, thank you. a landmark move from the pentagon today. the biggest change in its policy to gays in the military in nearly two decades. this as congress debates whether to throw out don't ask, don't tell, altogether. here's martha raddatz. >> reporter: for 17 years, gay and lesbiaservice members who followed the rules of secrecy lived in fear that someone else, a former lover, or an angry colleague, might reveal their secret and end their careers. that is exactly what happened to
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david hall, a decorated former air force staff sergeant. >> this cadet was someone who worked underneath me. she was pretty bad, and so, she went to our commander, said, well, they're gay, to get rid of us. it worked. >> reporter: that will not happen after today. >> i believe these changes represent an important improvement in the way the current law is put into practice. above all, by providing a greater measure of common sense and common decency. >> reporter: it's a landmark change, and a more human approach, but it will not help the scores of service members like dan choi, an iraq veteran, who have chosen to go public with their sexuality. >> i was living in the closet. then i realized, no, this - this is really a violation of the honor code, which, on the first day afternoon west point, we learned. you will not lie or tolerate those who lie. and i believe in that honor code. >> reporter: secretary gates made clear today that the
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pentagon study now being conducted is not to determine whether don't ask, don't tell should be repealed, but how a repeal would be put into place. as you mentioned, david this is really all up to congress. >> all right, martha, thank you. we're going to turn now tonight to the fight to save the middle class. it was last night here, we were the first to bring you those harsh words from the inspector general who keeps watch over the president's policeman to help struggling homeowners. he called the administration's claim of success, quote, meaningless. well, today, he took his review straight to capitol hill, and the administration responded with changes it says will help the homeowner. on capitol hill today, anger. >> this is a disgrace. >> the progr doesn't work. >> reporter: the trez si department knew this was coming. >> we understand that issue. >> reporter: they announced changes. banks will no longer be able to start the foreclosure process until they make sure a homeowner is ineligible for help. once a homeowner says they do want help the banks must get
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them a decision within 30 days. across this country, more than 6 million americans are late on their norj, and yet just 168,000 of them have had their mornings modified in the federal program. we checked in on lisa, one of the thousands who e-mailed us, trying to modify her mortgage. she's been waiting nearly a year. she lost her job, her husband makes $26,000 as a teacher. >> i'm calling regarding the recent news -- >> reporter: with word of the new rules today, she was back on the phone. >> doesn't sound like either department knows what's going on. >> reporter: she was met with confusion, three times she called bank of america, three times, transferred and disconnected. >> i thought, well, here we go again. although promise out there that they're not going to fulfill. >> reporter: well, we wanted to know, after the announcement, why so much trouble getting through, so much confusion about the new rules meant to help homeowners. the trez si department says the new rules don't fully take effect until may. we will stay on top of this,
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reading your e-mails each and every night as they come into abcnews.com. we turn overseas now, and to an audio tape released today. osama bin laden say al qaeda will kill any american it captures if the u.s. exkuments khaleed sh khalid shaikh mohammed. al qaeda is not known to be holding any americans. and still ahead here on "world news" this thursday night, all of those vacant buildings you had no idea you owned. costing hundreds of millions of your money. there is late word tonight on tanning bed dangers. dr. sser is here with a warning for parents. and perhaps the sweetest story from the sweet 16. the cinderella tale with the secret prince, and there's a hint tonight. you've met him before.
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it works on my worst symptoms so i'm ready by the time we get to the first hole. and that's good because the competition's steep today. new zyrtec® liquid gels work fast, so i can love the air.™ with so many americans simply trying to hold onto their homes, we got wind of something that could really get you boiling mad. in cities across this country, there sit empty buildings, many of them that your paying for, and the bill is nocheap. jonathan karl is on the case, watching out for your money tonight. >> reporter: getting to our first abandoned building was easy. just a short walk from the heart of washington, d.c., it's known simply as federal building number eight. taxpayer-owned and empty. this building doesn't look like much, but the real estate couldn't be more prime. the capitol building is so close, can you see it reflected in its windows. the property alone is worth more than $100 million.
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but the government is not making a penny off the building, which stretches an entire city block. the agency in charge says the government's vacancy rate is actually lower that than of the privacy sector and have plans to renovate. but it's sat empty for almost a decade. >> we have to wait to get funding for design and construction from the congress, that's the way this thing works. >> reporter: this gothic building sits on a sunny hill top in milwaukee. arches crumbling, it's a mess. still, the veterans administration is wasting $348,000 every year to maintain it. the list goes on and on. we visited another one near chicago. this 58,000 square foot building was once a v.a. hospital. but it's been vacant for 15 years. but just holding onto the building drains away crucial v.a. dollars. what about just selling it? >> well, that's not something i can do as a v.a. director. that would requi congress to
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do that. >> reporter: the government accountability office estimates that the veteran's administration alone is spending $170 million of your taxpayer dollars per year maintaining its vacant and underused buildings. government-wide, the cost is greater. >> it's a lot of money. we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars every year to be able just to repair these properties. >> reporter: but there is a success story. the old postoffice in chicago. vacant since the mid 1990s. this structure was not only rented out as a set for the film "dark knight," last year it became one of the precious few properties the government actually sold. though, for a fraction of its worth, before the real estate crash. an example of what the government needs to do. cut losses and start selling these buildings, now. jonathan karl, abc news, washington. >> our thanks to jon karl tonight. when we come back, late word today of a sober warning for parents about teens and tanning. there could be huge changes.
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making some pretty bold warnings. so, dr. richard besser is here with us now. you told us before we went on the air that this is big news. >> reporter: it is. this is a panel of experts put together by the fda, and they reach broad agreement that there need to be increased restrictions on the use of these beds for everyone under 18. many on the panel called for an outright ban in that group. >> reporte . >> the industry pushed back here. what does the science say? >> reporter: we know there's an 'em deckic of skin cancer in this country and that exposure to ultraviolet light is a major cause. the science is clear. let me show you how is works. tanning beds use ultraviolet light. that causes cremes in your skin to produce a pigment that causes your skin to go darkers. but it affects the dna in the cell. it can cause mutations, which can lead to the formation of skin cancer. we no there's no safe level of exposure, and that exposure earlier in life puts you at
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greater risk. >> you mention these recommendations. you know how the fda operates. how often do these become the rule? >> reporter: it would be unusual for the fda to get strong re recommendations like this and not adopt them. >> dr. besser, thank you. for much more on all of this, abcnews.com. and when we come back here on the broadcast, the sweetest story about the sweet 16, and it just might be off the court. and he's captured the american heart before. [ slap! ] ♪ [ slap! slap! slap! slap! slap! ] [ slap! slap! slap! slap! slap! slap! ] [ male announcer ] your favorite foods fighting you? fight back fast with tums. calcium rich tums goes to work in seconds. nothing works faster. ♪ tum ta tum tum tums [ male announcer ] fights heartburn fast. to finish what you started today. for the aches and sleeplessness in between,
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an and finally tonight here, march madness revs up to a new level for the sweet 16. and in this year's ncaa tournament, an honest to goodness surprise. cornell making it far enough to go up against mighty kentucky. and cornell might just have a secret weapon. a young man off the court who already captured the american heart. if cornell is this year's cinderella story, then he would certainly be their prince. a young basketball plar from rochester, new york, named jason. you might remember him simply as j-mac. four years ago, he was a senior in high school, manager of the basketball team. he has autism. and in the last game of the season, he was given his first chance to play. in just four minutes, he scored
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and scored. six three-point shots. tell me how it felt when you started nailing those threes? >> never shot that well in my life. never in my life. >> reporter: we have followed his story, and apparently so has someone else. cornell basketball coach steve donna hugh, whose own son matt has autism. >> it was one of the greatest inspirational stories i ever heard. >> reporter: after that unbelievable day, the cornell coach called up j-mac's coach to say, what a story, what a kid. and it turns out j-mac has been calling the cornell coach ever since, with advice on how cornell can beat temple and wisconsin. david taking on two goliaths. >> his advice is unbelievable. he's on the money. >> reporter: we caught up with j-mac today. the coach told me he has a lot of faith iyour eye. >> yeah, but i'm not trying to take away credit in this team. >> reporter: but it was j-mac's text before the wisconsin team that has the most impact. if you don't dream to become a champion, you won't become a
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champion. and cornell would win again. >> cornell to the sweet 16! >> reporter: there's been so much talk over the last couple of years that there could one day be a movie based on that famous day on the court. today, we simply learned of another chapter. as for the movie's title? do you remember what we told me what should they call it? >> "hot as a pistol." >> still sticking by that. cornell or kentucky? that's a tough one. going to play it safe and say good. for diane sawyer and all of us at abc news, thanks for watching. (announcer) we're in the energy business.
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